Commercial fisherman against snapper rule

Published 8:55 am Wednesday, January 5, 2011

To the Editor:

I am a commercial fisherman who is trying to inform the public about Amendment 17A and other attacks on our freedom to fish or access safe American seafood.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke signed 17A on Oct. 27. It went into effect in December.

That law takes away our freedom to recreationally and commercially fish on 4,100 square miles of our U.S. South Atlantic seafloor.

All fishermen will be forced to discard every red snapper we catch. Government scientists will guess when enough of the discarded fish have died slowly from stress, infection and decompression damage to fill the quota.

The same unelected bureaucrats who claim to have mismanaged this fishery for decades have given themselves the power to take “unspecified drastic action” against American citizens to stop the capture of any more snapper.

They can shut down the rest of our South Atlantic seafloor as they see fit. The logic they are using can be used to close any water with endangered or illegal fish like sturgeon and sawfish.

We the people, the lovers of liberty, the consumers of seafood and the harvesters of it have the power to demand wise management of our resources. We can have a healthy and sustainable fishery that can be responsibly harvested indefinitely without all of the unintended consequences that waste our resources, destroy our businesses and take our freedom.

We simply need to use common sense and the Golden Rule in fishery management.

Chris McCaffity
Morehead City, N.C.